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Who Must Have a Sightseeing Guide License?
You must have a Sightseeing Guide license to guide or direct people to any place or point of public interest or to describe, explain, or lecture about any place or point of public interest to any person in connection with any sightseeing trip or tour within the city. Sightseeing Guide applicants must be at least 18 years old.
This description is only a general explanation of which individuals need to have a Sightseeing Guide license. Refer to the Licensing Law/Rules Handout
Quick List of Application Requirements
Additional City or State Permits/Licenses/Clearances You May Need
- A business must have a Sightseeing Bus license to drive a vehicle that carries eight or more paying passengers to places of interest or amusement or for a specific or special trip from a starting point within New York City.
When You File Your DCA License Application:
Below are requirements when filing your license application. If you fail to submit all documents, your application will be denied.
- Basic Individual License Application
Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.
In-person submission: Download the Basic Individual License Application Form.
- Photo Identification (ID) of License Applicant
Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Driver’s license or a non-driver’s license identification issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles
- License or permit issued by a government agency
- Alien card/green card
- City, State, or Federal employee ID card
- Municipal ID card
- Photograph of License Applicant
In person: DCA will photograph license applicants at no cost in the Licensing Center. You can also submit a current color passport-size photograph.
Online: License applicants can upload an image file of digital passport photo quality. A digital camera with a resolution of 1 mega-pixel is adequate.
- Sightseeing Guide Exam and Exam Fee
You must visit the DCA Licensing Center between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to take the Sightseeing Guide Exam. The exam consists of 150 questions. You must answer a minimum of 97 questions correctly to pass. The $50 exam fee is separate from the license fee and is nonrefundable. If you fail the exam twice, you must pay the exam fee again in order to retake the exam.
Download Study Reference to help you prepare for the exam.
- You must pass the exam within 30 days from the date you submit your application or your application will be denied.
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
If this application will be prepared and submitted by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation. Note: The applicant must sign all required documents.
- License Fee
The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when you file your license application. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2015. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2016.
|Sightseeing Guide License
License Term: 2 years
License Expiration Date: March 31, Even years
|If You File Your Application Between These Dates:
||Your License Fee is:
|From April 1 in an even year to September 30 in an even year
|From October 1 in an even year to March 31 in an odd year
|From April 1 in an odd year to September 30 in an odd year
|From October 1 in an odd year to March 31 in an even year
||$13 or *$63
*If you are applying within six months of the license expiration date, you can pay the prorated fee for the remaining license term plus the full fee to renew the license for the next term. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.
The DCA Licensing Center accepts payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card) or check or money order made payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.
If you submit your application online, you must pay with a major credit card.
Note: Credit card payments are subject to a nonrefundable 2.49% convenience fee. In the event the payment to which it relates is canceled, refunded, credited, or charged back, you must contact your credit card company to dispute the convenience fee.
Application Filing Process
File in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive at the Licensing Center and we will provide translation services.
- Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below. Note: At this time, the service is available using a laptop or desktop computer only.
- If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
- After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
- Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.
Additional Resources for Sightseeing Guides
- Inspection Checklist: Sightseeing Bus
Get Voter InformationNote: Whether you apply to register to vote or not, it will not affect the assistance DCA will provide to you.